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Reisverslag Europe, and back on the divide
8 augustus 2017
Europe, and back on the divide
I had a fantastic time in Europe. Since I learned that my brother and I would both be taking a year off in the same year, I’ve been looking for a way to spend some of that time together. Problem was that I would be biking and he would be climbing. So when Leigh and I went from Mexico back to Canada, I decided to sneak out to the Netherlands. There, I managed to spend some great time with my friends, who on short notice all could free up some time. I got some relaxing time in with Rianne and, even though I’m usually the last one to see a friend’s baby, I managed to see one very early on :). After some time with my parents and helping my mom out with her ceramics lessons, my brother picked me up in the Netherlands and brought me to his house in France. Time for adventures!!! We had made a plan of mixing the biking and the climbing. I brought with me the bicycle trailer that Leigh and I use behind the tandem. We put that behind my brother’s mountain bike, I took his road-bike, and in that set-up we biked from climbing area to climbing area, finding campgrounds on the way. We went through the Fogezen and French Jura (not to be confused with the Frankenjura which is in Germany) until we looked out over the Alpes on one of our climbs. We successfully ignored the fact that all climbing gear, food, stove, clothes, and tent would not fit in one bob trailer, so it may have been slightly overloaded. Oh well :). My brother learned what it means to be biking luggage up a 20% slope. I learned that duffle-bag climbing is not ideal. We both learned to look on the map a bit better, we were surprised that we could pay in Euro’s because we thought we were in Switzerland, but a bit of research taught us that we were in Germany. And we woke up in France. Only in Europe these things happen…
At some point it seemed to be raining everywhere in Europe, except for Arco, so we decided to take the bikes and bob trailer in the train back to my brothers house, spend some time with his wife, and then take the car to Arco, Italy. If you’ve never been there, you should go! This amazing place close to the Garda lake has great climbing, and probably also hiking and mtbking, but we were too busy with the sometimes 19 pitch routes to do anything else then climbing and recovering with our feet in a river eating water melon. We made friends with the base jumpers on our relaxed campground and ate lots of ice creams and pizza in between the climbs. At 6 am our entire campground was awake to either come back from a jump or head out climbing, which made for a great atmosphere. The climbs and views were amazing and I will never forget the 6c slab pitch. Oh my, I honestly have no idea how one could walk straight up that steep with no hands. It explains why the bolt distance that is usually quite something on slab was this time reasonable. I won’t forget some other climbs either. Too much fun!
Back towards Canada, they almost didn’t let me on the plane because I had no ticket back to Europe, and they didn’t like the letter saying I was a permanent resident of Canada, with in big letters the words NOT VALID FOR TRAVEL, but eventually they let me go. I wasn’t allowed to fly into Canada without my permanent resident card (which I knew), which card was still on the way, so I flew into the US, took an overnight train to somewhere close to the border (you could say in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota, which is by itself the middle of nowhere), where Leigh picked me up and drove me across the border back to Winnipeg.
After a couple of weeks back in Canada, Leigh still recovering (but we did manage to get my first white water canoe trip in!), I learned that some friends from New Brunswick were climbing in the Tetons, a place I’d always wanted to climb, and that this would work out well with trying to finish the Great Divide mountain-bike route. So one afternoon, Leigh drove me across the border into the US. This time I couldn’t take the train because in the middle of nowhere of the middle of nowhere they don’t accept bicycles on the train. So he dropped me one town further where the Greyhound bus happened to make a stop and this bus was ok with bike transport. Too bad it left at 2.30 am, but that’s what happens if you want to leave in the middle of nowhere. I took that bus West, until Butte Montana, where I had stopped the Great Divide mtb trail last year when the snow beat me in middle October. From there, I started biking South.
The fun of doing it “in season,” means that I meet lots of bikers all the time, going North or South. Among them for example a very nice Dutch couple in orange shirts with “Nederland” on the back. Another one of them was a retired man, who had done mtb races and marathon bike races all his life, and is now handicapped with a neck injury, so that he can only cycle on recumbent bikes (sit bikes). We chatted for a while about bears, which seems to be the favorite topic of people among trail riders like us who hang out in the wilderness a lot (I’ll tell about the German who bear-proves himself by using his food as a pillow another time). Anyway, so the retired man and I met at a gas station just before the Tetons, so he must have been just behind me on the trail. While talking to him, a tall man walked in our direction. He was wearing black cycling shorts a red cycling shirt and a red ortlieb steer bag around his shoulders (just like Rianne’s), and asked us if we were heading East or West.
South it is!
Foto's bij verslag (6)
8 augustus 2017 20:10 | Door: sijmentje
prachtig verhaal anette op het facebook van hilco kwam ik al een foto tegen, weer super allemaal.
12 augustus 2017 10:52 | Door: Tobias
Prachtig verhaal weer Annette, toevallig zelf wat gefietst in Vogezen en Jura:). Het klimmen doe ik dan wel op een fiets.